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Water board inks sludge agreement
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The Etowah Water and Sewer Authority has taken another step to keep sludge out of the county.

At its voting session Tuesday, July 9, the board approved a 90-day contract with the Hampton Creek Water Reclamation Facility, a wastewater treatment plant in Forsyth County, to de-water its sludge. EWSA Manager Brooke Anderson said if the 90-day trial period goes well, he would ask the board to renew the contract for one year.

In the agreement, EWSA would take the Hampton Creek sludge and de-water it in the same fashion EWSA de-waters its own sludge. EWSA would then take the sludge to the Gainesville Waste and Recycle facility, the same place the authority takes its own sludge.

This is a good opportunity for the authority to keep the rain-application sludge out of the county, Anderson told the board. It allows us to move forward in a sustainable manner, and I think thats a good thing for the authority.

The Hampton Creek Water Reclamation Facility is owned by Ken Curren. In 2012, Curren filed an application with the Georgia Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to allow the spraying of Class B sludge on a sprayfield located off Lumpkin Campground Road and Harry Sosebee Road, one mile south of the North Georgia Premium Outlet Mall.

Class-B sludge, sometimes called biosolids, is treated human waste. Although treated, it still contains detectible levels of pathogens, according to the state EPD website. There are buffer requirements, public access, and crop-harvesting restrictions for virtually all forms of Class B biosolids.

Businesses and residents of Dawson County widely opposed the sprayfield. The application prompted county commissioners to pass an anti-sludge ordinance on Sept. 20, 2012. The ordinance, drafted by County Attorney Joey Homans, states: No person shall land-apply Class B sewage sludge to any land within the unincorporated area of Dawson County, Georgia.

The ordinance says anyone who does land-apply Class B sewage will be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a $1,000 fine.

Jane Graves of the Dawson County Homeowners Civic Association said she was pleased to hear the news of EWSAs agreement.

Its a much better solution to a stinky problem, she said. But as the population continues to grow, new solutions will need to be found, she said. It really calls on people, farmers, everybody to take a look at this issue to find a better way to deal with this. Its not going to go away. This 12-month agreement is a great start.

Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg said the county is working with the state on legislation.

We are working at a state level to get some legislation in that allows EPD to recognize land use and zoning as part of the application process, he said. Thats a longer thing, a longer term.

Also at the July 9 meeting, the board voted to award Townley Construction a contract to to relocate a waterline on Carlisle Road. Townleys bid was $117,745.20.

The county is in process of regrading and rebuilding Carlisle Road, Anderson said. To do that, we have to get our waterline relocated.

Anderson said the Authority received six bids, and Townleys was the lowest.

In addition to the bid amount of $117,745, Anderson asked the board to approve a 10 percent contingency, bringing the total amount for the project to $129,519.72.

The board also approved an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) with Dawson County. The IGA allows the county to build a communication tower on Lumpkin Campground Road.

All approvals by the board were unanimous. The board meets again for a work session on Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. at the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority office, 1162 Highway 53, East.